|Greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2005. Click to enlarge.|
Nikkei. Japan is at risk of falling well short of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, with fiscal 2005 combined discharges of all greenhouse gases having increased 8.1% from fiscal 1990 levels.
Carbon dioxide emissions rose 13.3% to 1,296.7 million tons in 2005, according to preliminary data released by the Ministry of Environment. Corporate efforts to save energy are reaching their limits amid a lack of new countermeasures, while exhaust from automobiles and households continues to grow.
Emissions from passenger cars and aircraft both rose 50% from fiscal 1990 to fiscal 2004. Automobiles and planes emit about 10 times and six times as much carbon dioxide as trains per passenger mile, respectively. Only about 10% of travelers used airlines between Tokyo and Osaka in fiscal 1990, but the ratio had doubled to nearly 20% by fiscal 2004.
Under the international protocol, which took effect last year, Japan is obligated to slash average greenhouse gas emissions for fiscal 2008-2012 by 6% from fiscal 1990 levels. Emissions must be cut by 13% from the current level to meet this goal.
“Achieving the target will be difficult,” says an Environment Ministry official.
On Nov. 21, the Japan Business Federation—Nippon Keidanren—plans to adopt new rules requiring member firms to reduce emissions. The organization will urge those failing to reach their goals to purchase emission credits.
At current market prices, it would cost businesses around ¥80 billion (US$677 million) to buy the allowances necessary to meet the target through credits alone.